April 2, 1946

THE ROYAL ASSENT

LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have the honour to inform the house that I have received the following communication:

Government House, Ottawa. Office of the Secretary to the Governor General

April 2, 1946.

The Honourable the Speaker of the

House of Commons,

Ottawa.

Sir:

I have the honour to inform the house that the Honourable Patrick Kerwin, acting as deputy of His Excellency the Administrator, will proceed to the Senate chamber on Wednesday, April 3, at 5.50 p.m. for the purpose of giving the royal assent to certain bills.

X have the honour to be,

Sir,

Your obedient servant,

F. L. C. Pereira, Assistant Secretary to the Governor General

Topic:   THE ROYAL ASSENT
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UNITED NATIONS

CANADIAN REPRESENTATION ON ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a brief statement with respect to Canadian representation on the united nations atomic energy commission.

It will be recalled that on January 25 of the present year the general assembly of the united nations, meeting in London, provided for the establishment of a commission to deal

Postal Service

with the urgent and important problems raised by the discovery of atomic energy and other related matters.

It was also provided in the resolution adopted by the assembly that the commission should be composed of one representative from each of those states represented on the security council, and Canada when this country was not a member of the security council. Each national representative on the commission was to have such assistance as might be desired.

The secretary general of the united nations has now asked the government of Canada to appoint a representative to this important commission and an order in council has accordingly been passed appointing General the Honourable Andrew G. L. McNaughton, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., as Canadian representative.

General McNaughton will be assisted by an advisory panel consisting of appropriate officials of the Departments of Reconstruction and Supply, External Affairs, and National Defence, and including the president of the national research council. The membership of the panel will be flexible according to the nature of the questions coming before it for consideration, and provision has been made for adding persons with special knowledge to this group of advisers as and when it may be deemed desirable.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN REPRESENTATION ON ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION
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POSTAL SERVICE

TWO DELIVERIES A DAT IN URBAN RESIDENTIAL AREAS-COMMERCIAL SHIPMENTS BY PARCEL POST

LIB

Ernest Bertrand (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST BERTRAND (Postmaster General):

Mr. Speaker, in connection with two deliveries service by letter carriers in residential districts throughout the dominion, may I say that instructions are being issued at once for the employment of additional men from Monday next, and to give them one week's training. The reestablishment of two deliveries service in residential districts will therefore become effective on April 15, two weeks from to-day.

I am glad to say that arrangements have been completed under which, effective immediately, the parcel post service from Canada to certain countries has now been extended to include commercial parcels.

Commercial parcels for such countries weighing up to twenty pounds where that weight limit applies, and prepaid accordingly, will be accepted for onward transmission.

Gift parcels weighing over eleven pounds may also be forwarded under the same conditions to countries other than the United Kingdom. The eleven pound weight limit still

applies for gift parcels to the United Kingdom in accordance with the regulations of the British postal authorities which have not yet been modified.

Full instructions have already been issued to the postal service in order that this extension may be made available to Canadian business firms without delay. I wish to give a list of the countries where commercial parcels may be made:

Extension of gift parcel post service to include commercial shipments

Belgium, British North Borneo (7 lb. limit of weight); Brunei (7 lb. limit of weight); China (except Manchuria and provinces of Shansi, S'uiyan and Cbabar (11 lb. limit of weight); Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Guam (15 lb. limit of weight) ; Hong Kong,, Luxembourg, Malay States (Federated and un-federabed); Netherlands, Norway, Philippines (11 lb. limit of weight) ; Poland, Sarawak (7 lb. limit of weight); Straits Settlements. Sweden, Switzerland, Yugoslavia (11 lb. limit of weight).

Topic:   POSTAL SERVICE
Subtopic:   TWO DELIVERIES A DAT IN URBAN RESIDENTIAL AREAS-COMMERCIAL SHIPMENTS BY PARCEL POST
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PRICE CONTROL

DEVELOPMENTS IN PRICE CEILING POLICY

LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Right Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a brief statement regarding recent developments in price ceiling policy.

During the past few days, as hon. members no doubt will have noticed, the wartime prices and trade board has authorized a number of important price adjustments. Ceiling prices for iron and steel and for various consumer articles made from iron and steel have been increased. Producers of lumber will be permitted to charge higher prices, although wholesalers' and retailers' ceilings. remain unchanged. Butter and pork prices have been raised. Price increases have been permitted for various pulp and paper products other than newsprint. In the course of the next three or four months small increases will take place in the retail prices of clothing and furnishings consequent upon the government's decision to eliminate subsidies on imports of raw cotton and wool.

Taken in conjunction with the decision made at the beginning of February to suspend price ceilings on a list of some 300 items and with the relaxation of rigid price controls on many imported goods, these recent steps may be regarded by some as implying that price control is breaking down, or at least that the basic policy of the government has been changed.

I am therefore taking this opportunity of making it plain that such is not the case. These adjustments are part and parcel of a -arefully planned programme which has been developing gradually since V-E day, and which, in its broad outlines, has been

Price Control

explained to the house and to the public on several occasions during the past twelve months. These measures do not mean that the government's anti-inflation policy as administered by the prices board is beginning to falter. They do not mean that we contemplate an early lifting of our price control system, nor must they be taken to imply that any serious increase in the cost of living is impending. On the contrary, they indicate that the government is prepared to maintain control over the movement of prices during this difficult and highly dangerous transition period.

I need hardly say that the danger of inflation is still very great. Many commodities are still in short supply, e.g., food, textiles and building materials-all highly essential. Purchasing power and consumer demands exceed their war-time levels. In this situation it would be unthinkable to allow prices to find their own level. But that does not mean, of course, that the administration of price control should not change. The system which served Canada so well in war must now be adapted, and is being adapted, to meet the special circumstances of the transition period.

Our system of price control has always permitted price adjustments in cases of genuine necessity. The special significance of the adjustments recently announced arises from the fact that they cover a wider area of Canadian industry than has so far been affected. I believe, however, that this will be recognized as the sensible approach to the problem. It would be folly to pretend that the government could continue to administer the same more or less inflexible system of price ceilings that was appropriate to the uncertain days of 1942 and i943. Here and there the line has to bend if it is not to break.

The declared aim of the government's price policy for the transition period is to give a reasonable degree of stability to living costs while creating conditions favorable to a high level of employment and production. In practice this means that where the wartime prices and trade board is satisfied that production is capable of expanding on the basis of basic period selling prices, then basic period prices will continue as the legal maxima. On the other hand, where it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the prices board that present ceiling prices are prejudicially affecting production and employment, adjustments are made. But except for commodities in quite ample supply, or relatively unimportant, price ceilings are. not suspended.

As the house will realize, it is easy to state general principles such as these but more

difficult to put them into practice. The prices board is literally in a continuous fight to prevent- price increases from being extended any further than is absolutely necessary. The increases in prices, to which I referred earlier, provide examples of the policy in practice. In the case of iron and steel, the support of the price structure formerly given by war production has disappeared. Consequently, wartime increases in .costs must now be reflected in selling prices of the basic iron and steel products. The wartime accumulation of cost increases, particularly wage increases, is also the basic factor behind the increase in the producer's price of soft-wood lumber, and in pulp and paper prices.

Another factor behind certain recent price increases stems from the decision which the government reached some time ago to reduce or eliminate subsidy payments. While subsidies played a vital part in checking the forces of inflation during the war, they are not desirable as a permanent feature of the price structure, and should be removed as expeditiously as possible. Certain subsidies were paid to offset temporary wartime cost increases and are more or less self-liquidating. The subsidies formerly paid on imports of petroleum are a good example of what I mean. On the other hand, it looks as if the wartime increase in the cost of imported cotton and wool, for example, is more or less permanent. In view of this, the board has largely withdrawn from the payment of subsidies on wool imports in recent months, and has reduced the amount of subsidy paid on cotton imports. At the same time, the prices board has authorized certain price increases that will be necessary to compensate for the higher price of wool and cotton as the various products move from the mills and converters, through to the garment manufacturers and down to the final consumer. The price increases authorized have been carefully worked out in relation to seasonal production, and in relation to inventories and other such factors, and the board is confident that the increase of consumer prices will be kept to the bare minimum necessary to offset subsidies. In other words, basic period or 1941 price ceilings in this particular industry, as in other industries where adjustments are necessary, will cease to be the rule, but the system of legal maximum price ceilings remains intact.

The recent increases in the prices of butter and pork products require very little explanation. In the case of butter, an additional incentive is needed if even a restricted consumer ration is to be met. In the case of bacon, the United Kingdom, realizing that hog numbers were declining seriously, agreed

International Trade

to raise contract prices immediately, and the domestic price was simply adjusted to the new level.

I am confident that the policy we have been following is capable of meeting the realities of this period of adjustment. It will undoubtedly mean a modest increase in the cost of living. But it will enable us to preserve the economic advantages we have gained from nearly five years of self-discipline on the economic front, and will protect consumers and producers alike from the economic and social dislocation which would surely develop if present inflationary pressures were given free rein.

In conclusion I wish to reiterate that the government has no intention of putting into effect what some political and other groups are advocating, namely, the removal, wholly or substantially, of price control.

We believe that price control and the maintenance of ceilings have the support of the Canadian people and we do not intend at this stage of the fight to flout their opinion or destroy the results of nearly five years of determined effort to prevent inflation.

I would like to appeal to this house and to the Canadian people for continued support of measures which we are satisfied are necessary if economic stability is to be maintained, if the real value of our currency and our bonds is to be protected, and if the bankruptcy and unemployment resulting from a price boom followed by a price collapse are to be avoided.

Topic:   PRICE CONTROL
Subtopic:   DEVELOPMENTS IN PRICE CEILING POLICY
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CCF

Gladys Grace Mae Strum

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mrs. STRUM:

I should like to address

a question to the Minister of Finance on his statement, regarding the price of butter. Did I understand the minister to say that this arises out of a withdrawal of the subsidy to the producers of butter fat?

Topic:   PRICE CONTROL
Subtopic:   DEVELOPMENTS IN PRICE CEILING POLICY
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

No, I did not say that.

The subsidies are not withdrawn.

Topic:   PRICE CONTROL
Subtopic:   DEVELOPMENTS IN PRICE CEILING POLICY
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INTERNATIONAL TRADE

ORDER IN COUNCIL CREATING CANADIAN COMMERCIAL CORPORATION

LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. MacKINNON (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table order in council P.C. 1218 of March 29, 1916, which authorizes the creation of the Canadian Commercial Corporation. I would like to make a brief statement to explain some of the main functions of this corporation.

In view of the many transactions which require immediate attention, it has been necessary to bring the corporation into being by means of order in council. Legislation

will be presented at this session to enable the corporation to operate on a continuing basis for a period.

For some time it has been clear that there are many transactions in international trade which cannot be handled entirely by private enterprise and the work of the corporation is intended to supplement the activities of business organization rather than to interfere with them.

The Canadian Commercial Corporation will, firstly, take over the various functions of making purchases in this country for foreign governments and the united nations relief and rehabilitation administration that have hitherto been performed by the Canadian Export Board. The value of such purchases made to date by the Canadian Export Board exceeds $417,000,000.

Secondly, the Canadian Commercial Corporation will assist private enterprise in obtaining essential supplies from ex-enemy territories. Supplies from such territories cannot be obtained at present through ordinary commercial channels.

Thirdly, this corporation provides the machinery which could be used in the future to purchase commodities such as sugar, tea, oils and fats which are under international allocation or foreign government control and may continue to be so for some time to come.

It is impossible at the moment to enumerate in full detail all the functions that will be discharged by the corporation. The three main purposes that I have outlined are only an indication of the work to be performed. New tasks may devolve upon the corporation, as its work proceeds, in the light of its developing experience and the needs of Canadian business.

The creation of the Canadian Commercial Corporation enables the government to provide facilities to Canadian business that will match those being offered to British and American traders through the operations of the United Kingdom Commercial Corporation and the United States Commercial Corporation.

The executive officer who will be charged with the primary responsibility for directing the activities of the corporation will be its director and general manager, Mr. W. D. Low, who assumes these new duties after having been chairman of the Canadian Export Board, and prior to that, executive assistant to the deputy minister of the Department of Munitions and Supply, where he had supervision over the purchasing branches. He is on loan from the purchasing department in Montreal of the Canadian National Railways.

House of Commons

The president of the new corporation is Mr. M. W. Mackenzie, deputy minister of the Department of Trade and Commerce, and its directors are: Mr. H. B. McKinnon, president, Commodity Prices Stabilization Corporation; Mr. David Sim, deputy minister, Department of National Revenue (customs and excise); Mr. V. W. Scully, deputy minister, Department of Reconstruction and Supply; Mr. D. B. Finn, deputy minister, Department of Fisheries; Mr. L. P. St. Amour, assistant deputy governor, Bank of Canada, and Mr. W. D. Low.

The corporation will be capitalized at

Topic:   INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Subtopic:   ORDER IN COUNCIL CREATING CANADIAN COMMERCIAL CORPORATION
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$10,000.000. HOUSE OF COMMONS STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO RESIGNATION OF MEMBER FOR PARKDALE

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say just a word about the resignation of the hon. member for Parkdale, Mr. Bruce, which was announced to the house last night, and the reference made by Your Honour to the fact that you are issuing a writ to-day for a new election.

What I am about to say is said solely with the intention of bringing to the attention of hon. members of the house what I believe to be the spirit if not the letter of the parliamentary law with respect to a member of parliament relinquishing his seat in the House of Commons. Do not let it be assumed for one moment that I take any exception to the hon. member for Parkdale having resigned his seat, or that I am criticizing his action in so doing. Such is not the case. I believe there is a certain responsibility upon myself as the leader of the house to draw the attention of the house to what is quite evidently, according to the authorities, the spirit of the parliamentary law with respect to resignations of members of the House of Commons.

The House of Commons Act does not set forth any reason for a member's resignation. Section 6 says, "Any member of the House of Commons may resign his seat" either by giving notice in his place in the house or by addressing a written declaration of his intention to resign attested by two witnesses. Nevertheless it may I think be truly said that a member is elected to serve during the life of a parliament. Unless there are grave reasons compelling him to return to private life, or he receives some appointment underthe crown he is, I believe, in duty bound to keep the mandate he has received from his constituents. Sir Erskine May says in his thirteenth edition, at page 45:

It is ia settled principle of parliamentary law that a member after he is duly chosen, cannot relinquish his seat.

This restriction can be evaded in the United Kingdom by a member accepting an office under the crown, usually the Chiltern Hundreds, an office which is merely nominal though assuming the form of a place of profit. The evasion takes place only when there are grave or very special reasons for it. It would nor be acceptable if a member wished to resign when he becomes weary of political life or feels that parliamentary work interferes with his personal affairs.

Redlich, Procedure of the House of Commons, volume 2, at page 99, says:

It is well known that English parliamentary law recognizes no power on the part of a member to relinquish his seat.

Bourinot, fourth edition, at page 157, says:

It was formerly a principle of parliamentary law that a member after he is duly chosen cannot relinquish his seat.

There can be no doubt that the hon. member for Parkdale had the right to resign without giving any reason for taking that step, but he has taken a course which may establish a dangerous precedent. The House of Commons Act, in prescribing the way in which a member may resign, cannot have intended to make resignation easy, and applicable on the slightest provocation. The cause of it, it would appear, should be prompted by public rather than personal interest.

Topic:   $10,000.000. HOUSE OF COMMONS STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO RESIGNATION OF MEMBER FOR PARKDALE
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IND

Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Is he making room for

Arthur Meighen?

Topic:   $10,000.000. HOUSE OF COMMONS STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO RESIGNATION OF MEMBER FOR PARKDALE
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PC

Arza Clair Casselman (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CASSELMAN:

You will find out in time.

Topic:   $10,000.000. HOUSE OF COMMONS STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO RESIGNATION OF MEMBER FOR PARKDALE
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April 2, 1946